Avalon Waterways - Myanmar (Burma) - Reflections: "Isn't This Amazing!"" - Travels Blogs

Avalon Waterways - Myanmar (Burma) - Reflections: "Isn't This Amazing!""

Avalon Waterway's Avalon Myanmar
on the Irrawaddy RiverMyo, my intrepid guide during my Avalon Waterway?s Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River cruise, 
Myo, our kind, intelligent and insightful guide
on the Avalon Myanmar river cruiserepeatedly said during my 14 day Myanmar (Burma) experience:
?Isn?t This Amazing"?
My candid response always was, and now a few weeks later remains:
My omnipresent very skeptical approach to this trip resulted in, well, "Amazement".  Unexpectedly, Avalon Waterways' (know for upscale, but not luxury, river cruise experiences) small, 18 suite, ship Avalon Myanmar presently delivers what is truly the best, most complete and in-depth river cruise experience in Myanmar; without exception or qualification. Yes, there are ships with more facilities and glitz, but none that deliver what you really traveled all that way to see:  Myanmar!  (In fact, building ships that large prevents them from going where the Avalon Myanmar does!)
Avalon Myanmar's outdoor Observation LoungeTo be sure, Myanmar is not what I expected, is far different than what can be seen by ocean cruise passengers that pretty much only visit the frenetic Yangon (formerly Rangoon), and is so much about the peoples of Myanmar and their philosophies, rather than merely gazing at a dizzying amount of pagodas, temples and stupas.  

Before I explain why, the first thing is to explain where and what Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is.  You have already noticed that Myanmar is also referred to as Burma and the Irrawaddy River is also know as the Ayerarwady River.  Add to that the changing of capitals on a whim, These are just hints of the fascinating (and troubling) complex and conflict history of this country.
Myanmar is a fairly large, undeveloped, country located in Southeast Asia bordered by China, India and Thailand (as well as small portion of Laos and Bangladesh) with a long border on the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.  The Irrawaddy River pretty much runs right up the center of the country.

While those borders had been tightly closed for over 40 years these adjoining cultures have created a cultural mix that is only now (again) first being understood and appreciated (and, unfortunately, is also the subject of serious ethnic conflict).
My nave impression of Myanmar before I visited was, ?It must be like North Korea with limited resources, starving people and compliance everywhere.?  What I found ? in the areas that tourists are allowed to visit ? was very different.  While there is an underlying police presence (usually signaled by a curiously existing golf course), I found the people from the bustling Yangon to the extremely rural Bhamo to be incredibly friendly, charming and welcoming.  They, in fact, were probably more excited and fascinated interacting with me than I was with them.  And therein is the first Amazing thing about Myanmar:  The people.

Source: Goldring Travel
URL: http://goldringtravel.blogspot.com

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